Tiger Technology takes surveillance storage to the cloud

Tiger Technology has adapted file-tiering-to-the-cloud technology and applied it to surveillance videos, enabling public cloud playback and disaster recovery.

Video surveillance storage needs are growing as more and more cameras are installed, and recording resolution increases. Full HD video is 1,920 horizontal pixels and 1,080 vertical pixels, while 4K video increases that to 3,840 horizontal pixels and 2,160 vertical pixels – per frame. Of course most video surveillance cameras don’t operate at these levels but the trend is towards higher resolutions, which means more storage capacity is needed.

Enterprises using video surveillance may generally store the videos on an on-premises digital video recorder system with local storage. According to a Western Digital online calculator, you will need 14TB of capacity to store the output of six 4K cameras running at ten frames per second, active for 12 hours a day, for 30 days’ retention time, with medium video quality and scene activity. Doubling the camera count to 12 and the recording period to 24 hours pushes the capacity need to 56TB. It mounts up quickly – and some customers can have more than a thousand cameras.

Tiger Technology provided video surveillance storage to a US airport operator that had 4,000 cameras and 4PB of data. Due to government regulations, it could not afford any camera data loss. It had a second datacenter constructed with an active-passive failover system. That standby datacenter was flooded in 2019 and the airport lost two thirds of its data. It needed even higher availability and greater data resilience.

Many customers have an on-premises-first policy for mission-critical data, and safeguarding it has cost and other implications.

CEO and founder Alexander Lefterov told an IT Press Tour in Madrid that an active-passive setup for the primary and secondary datacenters, with data replicated from the former to the latter, was insufficient for mission-critical data. If the primary datacenter failed, it could take two to five minutes for the switchover, and camera data would be lost.

It’s better to have an active-active system, with data written to both servers and synchronized – so that no data is lost if or when a datacenter failure occurs. It provides continuous data protection. But you need more storage capacity for this, meaning more cost.

If older, less mission-critical data is sent to the public cloud to save on-premises capacity, it still has to be available. Tiger Technology’s Tiger Bridge software is a general cloud storage gateway and tiering product, coded as a Windows Server kernel-level file system filter driver that can satisfy the data availability requirement. It monitors an on-premises file set and moves low-access rate files to cheaper public cloud storage to save on-premises storage capacity and cost. Surveillance Bridge is an optimized version of the Tiger Bridge software and works with video surveillance workflows.

A customer’s Video Surveillance Management System (VMS) records video to and plays it back from the local storage. As this fills up, configurable policies are used by the Surveillance Bridge software to replicate infrequently accessed data to lower-cost and scalable public cloud storage tiers. This reclaims local storage capacity. A metadata stub is left behind indicating the file’s new location. The VMS always sees data as being stored locally on-site so there are no changes to its operations. The stubs enable fast video search and identification.

Tiger Technology diagram
Tiger Technology diagram

During the public cloud upload, Surveillance Bridge splits a video file into small chunks and an MD5 check ensures no video frames are lost during the transfer. In effect, Surveillance Bridge extends the NTFS file system to the cloud, helping to maintain the access controls, encryption, and auditing capabilities inherent to NTFS. The cloud data also functions as a disaster recovery resource.

The US airport using Surveillance Bridge met three criteria:

  • Functional resilience – ability to have full system functionality with hardware or software component failure.
  • Data resilience – full data availability with system component disruption.
  • Maintenance complexity – ability to regularly test and maintain the system without affecting business operations and engaging complex failover protocols.

It has survived four events that would previously have caused data loss. Servers have been upgraded with no loss of service. There is no need to schedule maintenance at night, and there has been zero data loss and zero downtime.

Surveillance Bridge supports all major public cloud providers and storage tiers, including archive for long-term retention. When surveillance data is stored in an archive tier, playback has an added element. Admin staff can use Surveillance Bridge’s Job Manager utility to rehydrate specific date ranges or select cameras in some cases. Once rehydrated, the recordings can then be directly played back from within the VMS. 

The software does not use any proprietary formats when replicating data to the cloud. Customers don’t suffer from vendor lock-in and their data can always be retrieved. Find out more and access data sheets here.


Tiger Technology is based in Sofia, Bulgaria, with offices in the US, France, and UK. Its focus is producing software for hybrid cloud file data services. Tiger has around 70 employees and more than 11,000 customers in Media & Entertainment, surveillance, healthcare, and general IT around the globe.